Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Today I played my guitar in the lobby at my gym. It’s always interesting who stops to listen or chat. Today a little girl (about age 5) came and started dancing. She twirled around gracefully and it looked as though she was a natural at ballet. A crowd gathered to watch her as she twirled and danced. Everyone was smiling as they watched her, but she was oblivious to her growing audience. Her proud mother stood next to me, taking in the joy her daughter was bringing us.
In her grand finale, the little girl spun around so many times, she fell to the floor. She did not seem to notice - she got up and danced more 🙂 such a good moment.
With all the bad news going on each day, it was so good to experience this joy.
Thanks for reading!
Monday, March 4, 2019
There is a big fish tank at one of the nursing homes where I play. I joined an elderly resident in watching them before it was time for me to play. Delighted by the colorful creatures, the woman asked, "I wonder if they can hear the music?" I said, "Let's watch and see. "
And so we did. :) And it appeared that they can hear music. Of course that is likely no surprise to you but I had never thought of it before. I noticed they came closer to the glass during the song, "Singing in the Rain." I turned to my fish loving friend and said, "Hey they liked that song!"
Always a lot of fun to get to know the residents. Music brings out the best in people and now I want to see next time what songs the fish noticed. Someone suggested I play, "Beyond the Sea." for them.
what song do you suggest? :)
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Hello everyone! We're all in the midst of the coldest time of year and spring is a long way off still. Today I thought of something you might try to pick up your spirits.
Think back to your earliest happiest musical memories. Make a list of songs you associate with a happy time in your life. Once you have your list, download the songs onto a CD or mp3 file and listen. You'll be surprised how all that happiness comes right back to you!
Here are some of the songs on my list:
"Daydream Believer" by The Monkees. As a child, my sister and I watched their TV show all the time and we had all of their albums. Listening to them brings back such fond memories of my childhood in Chicago.
"I Think We're Alone Now" - Tommy James and The Shondells. I love so many of their songs, like, "Crimson and Cover" but this one stands out because it's one I remember hearing when I was learning to roller skate at The Hub in Chicago. Do you remember some old roller skating songs?
"Alley Cat," - it's an old piano rag that I did a tap dance routine to as a young girl. I didn't stay in dance classes long but I remember having fun with this dance.
"Classical Gas," Mason Williams. This was a big hit in 1968 and it's still a top standard guitar song. I love the dramatic orchestral accompaniment and it's still being played by many of the top guitarists.
"For Once in My Life, " - Stevie Wonder. Just about any song by Stevie Wonder I love but this one was maybe the first I heard and it's got such a happy feeling about it, you can't possibly stay down and listen to this song!
"Love Child" by the Supremes - again, anything by the Supreme's I love but this song is a great one to dance to.
"I Want You Back," Jackson 5 - Same goes with Jackson 5 - love them all but this is another great one you cannot sit still and listen to.
How about you? What songs do you remember from your childhood?
Tuesday, January 1, 2019
2018 was a year of experimentation and growth and it brought me many new opportunities.
Some of the things I did were a lot of fun and new and interesting. In the spring, I enjoyed presenting songs on nature and environmental themes to children at Wildrock in Crozet, Virginia.
Over the summer, I rented a saxophone and tried my hand at playing a new instrument. My ultimate goal was to learn an instrument to play in a band. I learned that there was a beginning band (wind and percussion ensemble) at the local senior center. I went one day in July to watch their rehearsal. I found out I knew one of the percussion players and she invited me to join their team. It turns out, I used to play percussion in high school band, so it would be a good fit for me. I came home knowing that would be a better choice for me since my saxophone studies were going so slowly, it would take months to be good enough to play in a band. I joined the band's percussion team in September and I played my first concert with them in December (see previous post about this).
In August, I was selected to be a panelist at the Music & Cochlear Implants Symposium in Montreal. As one of the panelists, I met with some of the leading researchers and developers of cochlear implants to help ensure the continuing improvement of musical satisfaction and proficiency for CI recipients. It was a great experience and one I will never forget!
I closed out the year working in the county schools teaching songwriting to two classrooms of 5th graders.
Of course, December was filled with holiday concerts and sing alongs with many groups.
I am full of optimism for this new year of 2019 and I wish you all a very good year!
Thanks as always for stopping by!
The picture above is from my travels up north for the holidays when I went up to the Ashokan Reservoir. It was beautiful!
Sunday, December 9, 2018
The Christmas season is upon us and I have been enjoying playing holiday music for various audiences. This year, I entered my arrangement of The First Noel for solo fingerstyle guitar in a holiday music arrangement contest with Sheet Music Plus. While it would be fun to win a prize for most sales, I am mostly motivated with the idea of others enjoying playing this arrangement. It begins with an improvised introduction, the 1st verse the melody is played as is and 2nd verse is improvised. It is a lot of fun and easy to play! You can hear it and download it at this link:
In other holiday music news, this fall I joined the First Wind Band at the local senior center in Charlottesville. I have really been enjoying playing percussion again because that was where I started in my high school band. I was always best at the snare drum and here is a video from our holiday concert last weekend. The song is called, "Latin Yuletide" and I am on the snare drum and I even have a little solo towards the end!
I hope you enjoy and thank you for stopping by. Happy Holidays to all!
Saturday, December 8, 2018
This week I really enjoyed my work as Artist-in-Residence in Albemarle County schools working with three 5th grade classrooms. The students were working on writing stories and learning all about plot, rising and falling action, climax, character studies.
In my song, "Choose the Sky" we analyzed the plot for various elements.
We talked about a plot where a problem is resolved. When I asked the children, "What is the problem in this song?"
The problem is talked about in these lyrics:
"Sometimes I get lost inside a thought
nowhere to go
A story that, only I know
I need to get some perspective."
A: "She just needed some space. " "She needed to chill out."
When I asked them, "What is the climax? Where the problem is most stated?
A: "Nowhere to go."
Then we worked on the resolution of this problem. Students had no trouble finding it with my lyrics:
"When walking out into the day
choose the sky, choose the sky
the sun will renew, let it in you."
It was a lot of fun to work with these young writers afterwards and help them develop their own stories and poems.
Choose the Sky!
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
I want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. I have been enjoying celebrating this holiday with my music groups. I have created a "Sound of Music" themed Thanksgiving set of songs and we enjoy singing them. Here is our favorite song and feel free to sing at your table!
My Thanksgiving Foods (to the tune of, "My Favorite Things":
Turkey and dressing
And yams and potatoes
Gravy and biscuits and fresh stewed tomatoes
Crimson red cranberries sure beat the blues
These are a few of my Thanksgiving foods
Creamed spinach soufflé and bacon with green beans
Broccoli, steamed carrots and let’s have more protein
Virginia ham for the rest of the brood
These are a few of my Thanksgiving foods
Corn in cheese sauces with paprika spices
Casseroles brimming with wild brown rices
Silvery champagne could bring some new moods
These are a few of my Thanksgiving foods
When the pie burns
When the cake flops
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my Thanksgiving foods
And then I don't feel so bad